Longtime broadcaster and MSNBC anchor Brian Williams departed the network on Thursday night with an ominous warning to Americans: The country is burning down with us inside it.
Williams initially announced his departure from MSNBC and NBC News in November following the completion of his current contract.
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In his final monologue, Williams — who faced scrutiny in 2015 for reportedly embellishing a variety of his reports, purportedly overstating his experiences and actions — said, "After 28 years of peacock logos on much of what I own, it is my choice now to jump without a net into the great unknown. As I do, for the first time in my 62 years, my biggest worry is for my country."
Williams — who explained that he's neither a liberal nor a conservative, but an "institutionalist" — said that he believes the country is in dire straits and those in positions of power should be held accountable for deteriorating conditions between Americans and their government.
"I believe in this place and in my love of country I yield to no one, but the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It's now at the local bar and the bowling alley, at the school board and the grocery store, and it must be acknowledged and answered for," he insisted. "Grown men and women who swore an oath to our Constitution, elected by their constituents, possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of, have decided to join the mob and become something they are not, while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They've decided to burn it all down with us inside — that should scare you to no end, as much as it scares an aging volunteer fireman."
He thanked his friends, family, and lifelong network broadcasting colleagues and added that it is up to the current and future generations to protect and preserve the sanctity of the country as it once was.
"I will wake up tomorrow in the America of the year 2021," he said. "A nation unrecognizable to those who came before us and fought to protect it — which is what you must do now."
He concluded, "I'll show myself out. Until we meet again, that is our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you for being here with us. And for all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night."
Williams was one of the first on board when MSNBC launched in 1996 and soon became NBC's host of "NBC Nightly News."
In 2015, he faced scrutiny when it was discovered that he reportedly exaggerated some stories during some interviews.
Following outcry, the network suspended him for six months, and host Lester Holt replaced him on the show.